Breads and Crackers · Mozzarella · Pizza

Multitasking in the Kitchen

This past Friday I came home with plenty of goodies from the Farmers' Market.    With my haul, I planned to make mozzarella, ricotta, jam, and pie, at the very least.

Since I was going to make mozzarella, I figured I should make pizza for dinner.  So I'd also need to make pizza dough.

And we were out of bread, so I needed (or kneaded, ho ho ho) to make a couple of loaves of bread, too.

That, plus whatever sanding/applying joint compound stuff I did in the bedrooms. 

My problem was I didn't really start any of this – the baking/cheesemaking part – until after I'd picked up Alex from school.  I felt like I had PLENTY of time.

Ha.

So first, I threw together a batch of pizza dough.  While that was resting, I started my bread dough.  Just a simple white bread.  Something like this one.  And while that was rising, I got going on the mozzarella.

I used a half gallon of fresh goat's milk and one and a half gallons of whole milk for this mozzarella. 

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I only took two pictures because once I got going on the actual kneading balls of very hot cheese curds, I didn't have time to clean off one hand and take a picture.  I'm still very messy in my cheese-making.

But I was very pleased with the batch.  I got a LOT of curds, and when I scooped them out of the whey, they were beautiful to behold:

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I haven't made mozzarella since last summer for some reason, and it kind of took me a bit of time to get back into the swing of it, but eventually I found my curd-kneading rhythm going again, and all was good. 

Except that while I was doing all the cheese stuff, I forgot about the pizza and bread doughs in their bowls on the dining room table.  I just punched down the pizza dough, and since I was probably near a crucial temperature-watching stage with the cheese, I punched the bread dough down, too, and hoped I'd be done with the cheese by the time the dough rose again.

Oh, and I'd also (I don't even know when I did this, but it clearly happened) cooked up a package of very thinly sliced turkey bacon to use on the pizzas.  It smelled good.  Alex and Julia kept coming into the kitchen, starving, of course, since I don't ever feed them a decent meal, and asked for just one more piece of the bacon.  Fine.  Eat it.  I'm up to my elbows in hot curds.

And I was still kneading curds when the bread dough BEGGED to be baked.  So I fired up the oven (okay, I turned it on) and rather than mess around with shaping a couple of nice loaves for my 9 x 5 inch pans, I formed the dough into one long log-like thing, diagonally on a sheet pan.  When it had risen enough, I slashed it a few times down the length of it, sprinkled some kosher salt on top, and slid the whole thing into the oven.  About 50 minutes later, it was done. 

And it was big.  Nearly the full length of the baking sheet.

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I finished up the curd-kneading at some point after that, and by then the pizza dough I'd divided into 6 or 8 balls before setting them in their olive oil bath had morphed back into one giant blob of dough.  So I tore gently pulled it into four pieces and made stromboli out of them, with chopped spinach (from a box of the frozen chopped stuff – I'm cleaning out my freezer) and the turkey bacon, the fresh mozzarella, a little tomato sauce, and the few remaining slices of roast beef I'd bought earlier in the week for sandwiches.  I was going to make calzones or pizza, but in the end, I just rolled things up and baked them that way. 

Sadly, I have no pictures of them.  But they tasted pretty good.

I'd hoped to make jams and pie that day, too.  HAHAHAHAHA.  Not gonna happen.  So I put that off for Saturday….

2 thoughts on “Multitasking in the Kitchen

  1. I’m exhausted after reading everything you took on! I have a very elastic sense of time and frequently think I can do three times as much as I can, and then finish nothing. Congrats to you for seeing these to completion!

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